For years, we’ve been advised against using “click here” as a link label. Now, it seems, we largely solved that issue with the use of “learn more,” and we’ve created yet another link phrase that means nothing to users.
Any link label that you use often, that does not offer insight into exactly what is linked, and/or does not get many clicks at your website is crying for a rewrite. Treat each link as a copy writing opportunity and you are on your way to a more effective, sticky website that has visitors traveling from page to page.
The usability experts at Nielsen Norman Group offer three approaches to help you make your link text more effective:
- Good: Use the paragraph heading as the only link. Make sure it is clear the heading is a link that will take the user to more information.
- Better: Add descriptive keywords. Sometimes, “learn more” may be the right link text, but don’t let those words stand alone. Add detail: Learn more about creating great links.
- Best: Use keywords that describe the link’s destination. Look at the destination page and see what it’s about; a well-written page will make this clear in the first sentence or two. It’s most effective when you use the same words.
Depending on your website setup, you may have to dig into the settings of your content management system (CMS) to avoid some of the ways that unhelpful and redundant link text gets created. For example, if your system automatically adds “Learn More” or other text at the end of a story snippet, you will need to look for a way to turn off the option. If headlines are linked but not obvious, you may need to tweak the style sheet.
While it is easy to use the same link text, either by hand or auto-assist from your CMS, this laziness will cost you web traffic. If you want people to read beyond the first page of your site, you need to draw them in with compelling copy and link text.